Man, Willie Nelson has never been better. At 84 years old, he’s still playing the music that he’s always loved and played, and the kick ass part of it is, he’s playing it as good as he ever has. I can’t say God’s Problem Child is the best record Willie has ever done because he’s done some damn good records. I can say it’s right up there with the best of his records, though. Willie sings and performs on God’s Problem Child as good as he ever has. I mean, this record is a pure damn joy to listen to from start to finish.
There are 13 awesome tracks on God’s Problem Child. Of those, 7 were co-written by Willie and Buddy Cannon, the producer of the album. While the album isn’t a concept album, many of the songs focus on mortality and coming to the end of one’s life. It’s not as bleak as it sounds, though. Willie approaches the topic with his trademark humor and makes clear that he’s more than comfortable with whatever the future has in store for him. There’s certainly no need to pussyfoot around it. We all grow old (if we’re lucky) and move on eventually. All you can do is make your life the best it can be while you’re here and try to leave something behind you can be proud of.
The first song was written by Buddy Cannon’s mom, Lyndel Rhodes. It’s called Little House on the Hill. A video of Lyndel listening to Wille perform her song went viral on social media in 2016. Here the song opens the album with a bang. It’s one of the standout tracks on the album. This is just the start of something really good.
Other great songs on the album include Delete and Fast Forward (Willie’s commentary on the current state of politics), Still Not Dead (a humorous song that refers to the Internet hoaxes involving Willie’s death), and He Won’t Ever Be Gone (a tribute to Merle Haggard). These are just the songs that came to mind immediately. I could have said Lady Luck, Old Timer, True Love, I Made a Mistake, or the title track, God’s Problem Child, with guest vocalist Leon Russell, who died November 2016. There’s really not a bad song here.
If you’re a fan of Willie Nelson, you know what to expect with God’s Problem Child, and if you’re not a Willie Nelson fan (huh?), this album is a great way to introduce yourself to a wonderful songwriter and great performer. Whether Willie is doing his own songs or lending his signature to songs written by someone else, it’s all pure Willie. Warm, honest, and somehow comforting. Check out Willie’s new album. It’s one of the best of his career.